Sisi ratifies 25 extraordinary freedom-restricting measures under covid

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On Monday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi ratified 25 extraordinary procedures after the issuance of law no. 152/ 2021 related to the procedures combating epidemics and pandemics approved by the cabinet.

The most notable articles included restrictions on individuals’ movement. These procedures, provided by the law, included the power to shut down ministries, governmental institutions, local government units, public agencies, public sector companies, public business companies, and other companies owned by the government and private sector. It also included suspending study for a specified period, partially or completely, in schools, nurseries, universities, institutes, any other educational institutions, and any gatherings of students for the purpose of learning and taking the necessary measures regarding the academic year exams. 

Also included was the opening and closing times of public shops or the power to shut them completely or partially, in addition to regulating or banning all public meetings, processions, demonstrations, celebrations and all other forms of gatherings including exhibitions, cultural events and festivals and closing cinemas, theatres, sports activities, clubs, youth centres, gymnasiums and health clubs and places of worship.

The procedures included the suspension or restriction of mass transportation, public and private. Also, to regulate or suspend the exportation of certain goods and products. It also included restrictions on the circulation, transfer, sale, or possession of some goods and products. Also, to approve financial or in-kind support for the affected economic sectors, setting rules for various facilities, companies, and projects, and obligating people coming into the country from abroad to undergo quarantine procedures and conduct some medical examinations, following health requirements approved by the concerned authorities.

The law also determines the method for collecting financial and in-kind donations, rules for allocating and spending these donations, setting treatment prices in private hospitals, and imposing control over the work of scientific, research and laboratory labs. The law provides the establishment of a supreme committee to be entrusted with managing the crises, headed by the prime minister, the membership of related ministers and whomever the committee deems to be experts and specialists. This committee shall take extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of epidemics and infectious diseases. Also, it may take economic or financial measures to combat the negative effects of the virus.

The law assigned the committee to impose penalties in the event of a violation of one of the procedures, measures, or decisions issued by it, as well as against anyone who incites on social media and applies the same penalty against anyone who intentionally disseminates, publishes, or promotes false or malicious news, statements, or rumours related to the epidemiological situation that would disturb public peace, stir panic among citizens, or harm the public interest.